14/10/2020

Thank you for your initial offer. We feel it offers scope for further negotiation and wish in turn to respond on two main points. We also wish to correct a couple of claims in your offer that might mislead staff.

Effect of inflation

We are pleased that management are using CPIH London as a measure of the value of salaries at Imperial as we agree it is clearly a more accurate reflection than national CPIH. There are two shortcomings with the CPIH London data that we sought to overcome in our claim, the uncertainty in the most recent figure and the one-year lag in its availability. College’s offer, which includes CPIH London figures up to 2018, has an uncertainty in the last year’s figure that is much greater than the basis of our claim: over the last five years the final reported year’s figure has varied by ±4.8% from its first report compared to ±1.1% for the projection in our initial claim. The offer in addition does not include the effect of the known pay award and national CPIH for 2019. Therefore, if management would prefer not to use our projection, we suggest substituting the known national CPIH figures from ONS for the last two years. This approach neglects the expected higher rate of London inflation over 2 years which could then be adjusted for in subsequent pay settlements. However, it has the advantage of providing an up-to-date comparison, even with the divergence from CPIH London over the last two years, while incorporating the much larger divergence between the two measures for all but the last two years of the period since 2005.

We accept that because of the floor and ceilings on the award, the annual percentage has differed according to salary level, but the variation is not as large as the selected figures suggest. Only the lowest paid 2% would have benefited from a cumulative rise of 46.3%. If we look at the middle half of the salary scale, from 2005 to 2019 the cumulative increase varies by less than ±1% from the median. That said, we are happy to agree that the median value is a reasonable figure to use for year-to-year comparisons.

If we substitute the last two years of national CPIH with previous values for London CPIH together with a median value of salaries we calculate a 1.6% increase is required to ensure no degradation in the value of median salaries since 2005. We believe that an annual increment calculated on this basis should set a floor to both current and future salary negotiations.

We also wish to comment on the use of “survivor” salaries in claiming that there has been an increase in investment in staff pay. This is not correct, a point we have to had to make far too often in previous pay negotiations. A consistent pay structure or pay relativity exercise causes no increase in the year-to-year cost of salaries to College. Once new starters are included the pay structure has no overall effect on the level of investment and it is only by excluding new starters that such an erroneous conclusion can be reached.

Affordability and additional demands on staff

We also agree that inflation is not the only aspect that should be used in determining the annual increment. Both affordability and any change in the workload of staff should play a role. The latest figures (13/10/2020) show a 10% increase in first-year students at Imperial and an even larger increase for taught masters, with a higher proportion paying overseas fees. This increase is both bringing in an increased income for College and putting more demands on all staff who teach or support teaching activities.  We estimate this represents about a 1.4% increase in both workload and income when other income and other activities are respectively taken into account. The increase in undergraduate teaching load and fees will persist for three to four years, and past experience suggests that student numbers will not fall back to prior levels, even if there is some reduction in admissions for the upcoming year.  We did not include any element of workload and increased income in our initial claim as the admissions figures were still uncertain, but now amend our claim to incorporate both.

Summary

In response to your initial offer, we are making a revised claim on the annual increment of 3.0%, 1.6% to compensate for inflation and 1.4% to compensate for increased workload, as also reflected by the increased fee income.